‘Late Night’ talk show host Seth Meyers took comedic aim Monday night at North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature for passing legislation to diminish the power of incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Democrats and national political pundits called the legislature’s actions in last week’s special session a GOP coup aimed at nullifying Cooper’s narrow victory over Gov. Pat McCrory in last month’s election. Hundreds of protesters stormed the state Legislative Building on Thursday and Friday, leading to dozens of arrests. But McCrory on Monday downplayed the impact of the legislation.
Meyers, in a segment called “A Closer Look,” showed videos of protesters being arrested, including a man dressed as Santa and a woman who invited a police officer to her home for dinner before he arrested her.
Meyers also quipped about lawmakers’ actions to strip power from Cooper before taking office, and called the actions “troubling.”
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“That’s like losing a bet and paying with Monopoly money,” Meyers said. “Five hundred bucks. Just like we said, sorry it’s tiny and orange.”
He also took jabs at Senate Bill 4, which came out of the special session and was quickly signed into law. The bill splits the state and county elections boards evenly among Republicans and Democrats rather than keeping them under the control of the governor’s party. It says the Republicans will chair the boards in even-numbered years, when major elections are typically held.
“It’s like winning Yankees season tickets for all games between November and March,” Meyers told the audience.
Meyers took shots at state GOP chairman Dallas Woodhouse, lampooning him for an MSNBC interview with Chuck Todd on Friday.
During the interview, Todd asked Woodhouse to try and defend the legislature’s actions that to many outside North Carolina look like “sour grapes over a lost election.”
Woodhouse said the actions had been by both sides of the aisle previously, in a legislature weary of executive power. He cited several past instances where Democrats slighted Republicans.
“Hey guess what Chuck, next thing you know, you’ll say there’s gambling in Casablanca, I mean, come on,” Woodhouse said holding up an ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of diamonds. “This is what happens in a partisan political system.”
Meyers made several jokes at Woodhouse’s expense, wondering aloud if he had been holding the cards throughout the interview and called him the “Carrot Top of politicians,” before pulling out props of his own.
“This was in no way a naked power grab,” Meyers said as he pulled out a male doll, a power strip and a tool designed to grab trash or household items.
Meyers then played a 2014 CSPAN interview featuring Woodhouse and his brother Brad – a Democrat – when their mother calls in and tells them she was glad they went to their in-laws’ homes for the holiday.
“Oh God, it’s mom,” Dallas Woodhouse said.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi